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Drug offenders receive presidential commutation

In an effort to jumpstart efforts to reform the criminal justice system, President Obama commuted the federal prison sentences of 61 drug offenders. The offenses were mostly for drug possession or intent to sell, and roughly 33 percent of those offenders were serving life sentences. All of those pardoned are expected to be released by July 28, and five of those who had their sentences commuted were from Texas.

All five of the Texas natives who are set to be released were sentenced from 240 months to life on charges of possession, possession with intent to distribute or possession mixtures with a cocaine base. One of those to be released were also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 of which the balance will be remitted upon release.

Although judges in some cases believe that the punishments that defendants receive are too harsh, minimum sentencing guidelines may make it harder to reduce them. One man received a 27-year sentence for charges related to cocaine while another got a life sentence for intent to sell cocaine as well for filing false tax returns. Both are among those who are going to be pardoned by Obama and freed by the end of the year.

Those who are charged with drug possession or other drug offenses may want to have the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in fighting or mitigating the charges. A plea bargain may enable a defendant to avoid jail or prison in exchange for probation or a fine. An attorney may later ask that the case be expunged from an individual's record, which means it won't show up in a background check.

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R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
1545 Heights Blvd. Suite 600
Houston, TX 77008

Phone: 713-752-2728 | Fax: 713-650-1602
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